10 answers

Need Christmas Ideas for Terminally Ill Father

I need some help moms.. My dad is always hard to buy for because he has everything he needs and or wants. Well, this Christmas is a little different. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer at the beginning of this year. (never smoked a day in his life) Anyways... There is a strong possibility that this could be our last holiday together. He is not responding to the meds like before. I want to put together a fun basket for him and my step mom. Im on a budget and again... they have everything, so Im at a loss for what to put in it. Any ideas? I am also making them a framed poem about "peace" that my stepmom gave me on a scrap of paper when we found out my dad was sick.. Its very pretty and I am giving it to them and each of my siblings. I appreciate any ideas. Thanks moms

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Have all of the members of your family make a collage out of pictures of that individual and him. Then put them all together to make a scrapbook for him. We did it one year for my granddaddy and he LOVED it.

1 mom found this helpful

I love the me and you pictures mentioned by the other poster.

Something fun is http://www.oldtimecandy.com. You could make him a stocking from 'Santa' filled with all the candy from his youth.

I am really sorry for what you are going through. My prayers are with your family.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello M.,

I'm sorry to hear about your father. I was wondering, are there any old friends of his youth that he has not seen in a very long time? tracking down friends from his youth may be an unusual present. spending time with him and making memories for him and his grandkids would be a good idea too. maybe the little ones can 'interview' him and from there you can get some ideas of what 'would make his day'... Good luck! ~C.~

1 mom found this helpful

The ideas so far sound really good. What about sitting with him and having him tell some stories about his family, youth, stuff he did as a kid, etc ? You could type them out into a book or binder ? That way it would be something he could look through and remember and also be something for you, your kids, and siblings.

I strongly second the idea of recording his stories from his life. This is one thing I wish I had done with my parents. I was their caregiver and so busy taking care of basic heath concerns I didn't have time to push them for tose treasures. I had discussed this with my mother but she thought no one would be interested in her life and eventhough she started giving me this information she distroyed it before she died. This is a gift to him - telling him you really care about him and certainly a gift to you and your family which has no price.

What am emotional time for you and your family. My prayers are with you, M.. You are an incredible blessing as his daughter that you would try to think of something special for him this Christmas.

I used to work in hospice. Something that was done quite often (and builds on the great suggestion for doing a life review), was to not write everything down but actually record it. If you don't have one already, buy or borrow a mini tape recorder (digitals may be a afforable these days, I know you said you were on a budget)and allow him to verbally share the answers to your questions. If you still want it written down, you could do that later and simply transcribe it.

You could even allow him to do it privately. If he is able, have him control the recorder, provide him the questions, and he could answer them alone if that made him more comfortable.

Google "Life Review Questions" -- there are some great ideas. Of course ask questions about his life but also ask tough questions -- what does he want to say to you? to his wife? to his grandchildren? What lessons does he want them to grow up learning? Allow him to process what he is going through. That is so important and by you giving him means to do this -- that is a gift. And it will give you as a family the opportunity to laugh, cry, grieve, and learn so much about your father.

Afterwards, you could set it to a DVD collage with pictures and music and all watch it together. Wouldn't that be lovely? And a truly special gift for everyone.

To take this another way -- have everyone else record something about him. Favorite memories, the first time they met him, funny moments, etc. Allow each person to record a special message for him and end it with "I love you _____" (calling him what they would call him). It is so special especially coming from the little ones. If you do it digitally, you can put it onto a CD and if someone knows how, put it to music. He can listen to it whenever he wants, expeciallly when he is feeling scared, sad, or in pain. Hearing the voices of those we love gets us through, doesn't it?

I wish you luck!

Take Care,
Emmy Kate

I love the idea of taking down his life story, but also you can put together a basket of things that remind him of great memories and then you can sit and share them with each other. For example, my dad always dressed as a clown for school parties when I was in elementary school. Every time we see a picture we always get to talking about it.

What about putting together a journal/scrapbook/etc about what he's meant to you, what you've learned from him and how he's impacted your life. Give him the gift of the legacy he's leaving behind in you and other family members. This can include memories you've shared, but also letting him know before he's gone that he'll be remembered and cherished throughout your lifetime.

My prayers are with you, M.. My dad too has everything including cancer; we never know if it will be his last Christmas with us. We take it year by year, we give God the glory that daddy has been gifted to us for 13 years since his diagnosis. (his cancer has no cure, no remission, my dad is establishing new protocol by living) The past few months have been especially rough. His favorite is a goody basket filled with his favorite treats, my mom doesn't bake much and I am the heir to his mother's recipes. He also simply likes to "be" with us, even if he isn't feeling well. For the most part make memories with him - puzzles, games, a special movie, etc. I also like the record his history idea. I will definitly borrow that idea this year!

How about giving him a gift that he can actually give YOU. If you haven't already done this, I would buy one of those "Memories of my Father/Grandfather" books. I'd make an "appointment" each week to sit down with him and go through the book filling out childhood memories that he has, memories of you growing up, hopes for his grandchildren... YOu can buy these books at any bookstore. They provide the questions, you only have to ask what is in the book and fill in the answers for him. I'd also audio record the sessions too, so you can go back and hear his voice telling stories from his past. It would be a wonderful time for him remembering the good times, it would give you wonderful alone time with your father which would be precious memories for you and it would be a treasured gift to you and his grandchildren to know what Grandpa wanted to be "when he grew up" and what he thought about life...

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